In the run-up to the release of Ed Sheeran's new album Equals, Warner Music and LiveWall co-developed The Equals Game. A mobile browser game especially for the most loyal fans. The goal from Warner Music was to create an interactive cross-media campaign to promote the new album. In addition, the online community of Ed Sheeran fans was encouraged to actively participate in the campaign. By playing the game together, the users unlocked tracks from the upcoming album.
With 77.5 million listeners per month, there's no need to boost the number of streams with an artist like Ed Sheeran. When Equals was released, the focus was therefore mainly on talkability and community building.
First of all, Ed Sheeran talks about the message of his album: “My life changed greatly over the past few years—I got married, became a father, experienced loss, and I reflect on these topics over the course of the album. I see it as my coming-of-age record, and I can't wait to share this next chapter with you.” … “with butterflies that simulate new life.”
In order to increase talkability, to respond to Ed Sheeran's message and the creation of new life and a new phase of life, cross-media outlets had been created among various (social) media platforms in the form of The Equals Game. Via a mobile game in the browser, fans could breed unique butterflies by collecting various color codes and sharing them with each other within online communities on - for example - Reddit.
The game was playable on mobile devices, where the user had 1 flower color and 1 blank butterfly at the start of the game. A new color code was added every 8 hours. By combining the color codes with the butterfly, a new species was spawned.
The well-known breeding phenomenon has its origins in the game Final Fantasy, one of the most successful MMOs on the market. Within this game, users breed by exchanging materials. This mechanism is applied in the same way in The Equal Game. In total there were 14 butterflies to breed, with each butterfly unlocking a new track from the album.
During a media day in Amsterdam we recorded a number of videos with Ed Sheeran. In-game content that encourages users to breed new butterflies and share the color codes. The winner of the game had a chance to win a meet and greet with Ed Sheeran.
An extra addition to this campaign was the link with Spotify. Every participant could register themselves via Spotify. Once this happened, the contestant was automatically given a pre-save on the album. The album automatically appeared in the fan's Spotify library.